Friday, April 30, 2010

Heat Map and Answers

Heat Map and Answers

First of all, I must remind you that

The Bad Girl Blogfest is one week from today!!!

Over twenty people have signed up. Will you be next? And there are a couple other kewl blogfests over the next couple days. Check out my Master List!

Scroll down if you just want answers to your questions!

But first, some boring revision nonsense. Remember this post I made last week about revision? Here’s the results of some of that analysis:

Steam Palace Heat Map

The columns left-to-right:

  1. Scene Number
  2. Word Count
  3. Cumulative Word Count at end-of-scene.
  4. Importance (0-10). High values indicate a critical scene that usually contains some form of turning point.
  5. Promise Count – Promises are new pieces of story information not explained in the scene. This is high in the beginning of the book and tails off towards the end. I do have a “promises kept” count column but I haven’t started filling it out yet.
  6. Tension Level (0-10) – How high are the stakes in play in a given scene? This is what keeps the reader interested.

Note that this is Act I and a bit of Act II. Can you tell which scene is the transition scene? So you can see that the map starts pretty hot, levels off, then pops up for a bit. From here on, the map should increase into the reds as we press on into Act II, then Act III should be red across the board. Hmm…does that mean the ending is more important than the beginning?

One thing to note is that anything in green is probably worth cutting or combining with another scene. Since I’m running about 6K words over budget, I’m going to look through this carefully to see what I can do.

Okay, enough of that. Now how about some


Myne Whitman asks: What of a post on how to review?

A: I think you mean critique. I do have a couple:
Critique Technique
Critique Technique 2
Revision Test Results

But I hope to write another one soon. I’ll let you know!

 Ryan asks: Do you write them from time to time (meaning shorts longer than the flash pieces you've posted here), and if you have, have any of them been published?

A: Not really. Most of my ideas are too big. I probably should. There’s one I’ve been working on lately that is almost ready to send out. I should write more short stories but who has the time?

 Donna Hole asks: Well, what do you do in your "spare time"?

A: What is this “spare time” you speak of? I write every moment I can. :) But yes, I do stuff outside of writing (and blogging). I’m a Seattle Mariners season ticket holder, I score games for my son’s Little League team, I attend writer’s meeting (oops…guess that’s not non-writing), I’ve started going to cons again (need to get to writer’s workshops too), and I work out.

 Sara McClung ♥ asks: Favorite actor? Favorite actress? Favorite movie of ALL time? If you were trapped on a deserted island and could only bring ONE book, what would it be?

A: Whoa! Slow it down!
Favorite Actor: I’d have to go with either
Ryan Reynolds or Vince Vaughn.
Favorite Actress:
Lucy Lawless! Did anyone see her in Spartacus?
Favorite Movie: How can I choose just one? Maybe
Desert Island Book: The Dummies Guide to Surviving Desert Islands. Hmm…that book doesn’t exist…do I smell book proposal? Actually when I think about it, I wouldn’t want a book because no matter what I brought, I’d wind up hating it after a while, so that book would be ruined for me. Maybe the complete works of
George R. R. Martin.

Thanks everyone for your questions!


  1. Your scenes are about the same length as mine. I usually cut my scenes at 1-2kw. I assume the gray lines are chapter marks.

    - Eric

  2. Thanks, I actually meant critique. I'll check out those links. Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Your chart is so organized. I like it. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.


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